A WOUND OF ANY SERIOUS NATURE OR SIZE WILL NEED VET ATTENTION - THESE NOTES ARE ONLY INTENDED TO ASSIST THE FIRST AID THAT CAN BE GIVEN UNTIL YOUR VET ARRIVES.
Firstly keep calm and always have some first aid items on hand in the stable yard or float or truck.
Sterile saline solution is the optimum wash to clean cuts, tears or abrasions and it is essential to have some in your first aid kit. If you run out, or are in a place where there is no saline, flush the wounds with water from a hose. The goal in cleaning the wound by flushing with clean liquid is to wash away bacteria which might otherwise cause infection, so use plenty of fluid and sluice the wound, with a gentle flow not a blast. The edges of the wound need to be carefully treated as healing can be delayed if they are damaged. Finish by using Vetpro Antibacterial Gel to ensure the site is clean of any germs. The gel kills 99.9% of germs and contains Vitamin E and Aloe Vera to be kind to the skin. If practically possible apply a dressing, some Gamgee padding and a bandage until the wound appears dry, then a topical cream such as Equifix will assist with healing. Do not bandage for too long, i.e. days as this delays healing. Daily gentle hosing and dry with a clean cloth or towel, gently rub off and debris and apply Equifix. Open air and cleaning will speed up healing.
Puncture wounds are more serious than open wounds because they have depth, although a puncture wound in dense muscle is less worrisome than it would be on the chest, belly or lower leg, where it could compromise your horse's internal organs or movement. A puncture wound needs to be assessed by a vet, however it is important to cleanse it, remove any foreign material and flush it out with plenty of sterile saline. Puncture wounds should be left open to drain, but if necessary protect with a dressing and wait for the vet. The problem with a deep puncture is to check how far it may have penetrated and therefore what damage may have occurred to the underlying tissues , joint organs etc. Also the wound has to heal from the inside first , so the entry pint must be kept open . If it closes off too quickly it can trap germs inside (or foreign matter) and infection or an abscess may occur.
Abrasions usually occur when a horse falls and skids. If the wound is a simple abrasion you can probably take care of it yourself, but check to make sure there are no punctures, lacerations, broken bones or other more serious damage before treating the skin damage. It is important to clean the area well to remove any dirt, grass or other particles. Use the sterile saline for flushing the area and apply the Antibacterial Gel. If swelling is evident a cold pack can be applied, cool gel self-adhesive pad or aloe cool gel or artic blast bandage depending on the site of the swelling. If there is dirt or grit that cannot easily be washed out then an Activate® charcoal poultice is ideal to draw out the contaminants .
Lacerations generally need vet attention to remove any excess skin flap or to stitch the wound back. As a first aid action, flush with saline and keep the area cold as this will improve the quality of the skin enabling it to be stitched. Put the skin flap back in place, then place a cold pack over and use padding, then bandage. Follow the vet’s instructions once the wound is stitched.
Extensive blood flow must be stopped as soon as possible by applying direct pressure, either with a pad pressed or strapped on - call for immediate veterinary support. If caught out on a ride , create a pad from a handkerchief or some such and use a stirrup leather to create a firm strap over the pad , easier to hold than trying to apply direct pressure yourself. Spurting red flow is arterial and must be dealt with as quickly as possible.
Quick response bag ie. Vetpro Emergency Wound Kit
List of items that should be in the Stable kit/Float/Truck to cover various emergencies